Saturday, July 28, 2018

Attending the Romance Writers Conference by Cheryl Bolen

I am just back from another conference of the Romance Writers of America. I've been to about ten of these since my first in Dallas in 1996. The organization now bears little resemblance to what it was then.

Those were the days only a few of us had published, the days of just a few publishing houses, all print. Many of those who had published were making big bucks and had huge print runs into the hundreds of thousands.

Two years after I attended my first national conference I had the honor of attending the conference in Anaheim, California, sporting my name badge with PAN on it. PAN is the Published Author Network. Only a few of us qualified for PAN before the eBook explosion. I believe an author had to demonstrate that she made $5,000 from one single book to be PAN eligible.

The tables have certainly turned. Now the majority of the membership is PAN, mostly through self publishing or publishing with small eBook publishers who pay no advances. The $5,000 requirement is long gone. The big publishers have slashed print runs, advances have stagnated, and only a rare newcomer gets her book out in print.
Cheryl Bolen (left) with Beau Monde conference chair
Ann Chaney following Cheryl's keynote speech.

This year nearly half of those authors nominated for a RITA (romance's highest honor - the equivalent of the Oscars) were self published.

With the exception of huge authors, like Jayne Ann Krentz, who established themselves decades ago, the million dollar authors now are self-published epub phenoms like Marie Force, Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, and Liliana Hart.

Unfortunately, the majority of those self-published authors flooding the market now earn enough annually off one book to pay for a splurge dinner.

Because of what the industry terms "the eBook disruption," my conference experience this year was vastly different. Unlike in the "old days," I was not seeking a power agent. I was not eagerly attending publisher spotlights to learn what editors were looking for. I was not even remotely interested in traditional publishing. I am one of the fortunate authors who came into indie publishing in 2011--the magical year for self publishing--and I've done very well.

I went to several workshops pertaining to indie publishing. These were geared to maximizing your income through Facebook and Amazon advertising and selling your books from your website.
I took copious notes, but I came to a conclusion afterward. I probably won't be spending my time building a set of ads, testing them to see which perform best, then advertising, advertising, advertising. I am a writer. That's what I want to spend my time doing--even though as an indie author, I'm a business woman.

While I know there's a potential to make a much larger income from my 38 titles, I'm happy if I can just continue at the financial level where I am now. My husband has retired after 44 years in the same job, and we want to enjoy our lives together. Writing will always be part of who I am, but I will not be a slave to the marketing that goes along with being a successful author.

Now that I'm home and looking back on the conference, my biggest takeaway was the reconnection with author friends I've made over the past two decades.--Cheryl Bolen, whose latest book is Book 2 in Lords of Eton, The Earl, The Vow and the PlainJane

Hang On To Your Hat: 99 Cent Sale @JoanReeves #GemsInAttic

Looking for a fun, sexy book for the weekend?

I'm running a sale on The Trouble With Love from now through August 1, next Wednesday.

I've dropped the $3.99 price to only 99 Cents so grab this sexy romantic comedy today before you forget about it. *g*

Blurbing The Trouble With Love

Hang on to your Stetson as the fun and games begin in a sexy romantic comedy hotter than a bowl of Texas chili!

By-the-book Deputy Susannah Quinn has all she can do to resist rule-breaking FBI Special Agent D. E. Hogan.

To catch a thief, Susannah and Hogan pose as husband and wife and go undercover. Unfortunately, Susannah and Hogan have already been undercover—in a bed in a Houston hotel where they first met.

For her part, Susannah wishes her lapse in judgment would take a flying leap and land on a barrel cactus in West Texas. Hogan, on the other hand, wants to get the contrary deputy into his bed, but the complications caused by family—his and hers—pretty much guarantee that's never going to happen.

Can these two mismatched lovers avoid falling in love, catch a thief, and recover stolen jewels? The clock is ticking. They have only seven days—and nights—to complete their assignment and resist the sweet siren call of desire.

But Wait, There's More

The Trouble With Love gives you not 1, not 2, but 3 love affairs! Plus you get the charm of a small Texas town and a story with heart, soul, and passion. Lots of passion!

You'll find The Trouble With Love for only 99 Cents at Amazon Kindle and at B&N Nook.

Takeaway Truth

Grab your copy today before the sale price goes away.

Oh, by the way, if you had been a Subscriber to my Mailing List, you'd have received a free copy of another of my popular romantic comedies Still The One.

Every month when I send my newsletter to my Mailing List Subscribers, I give away something free or offer a contest with a prize. Plus my friends usually offer free ebooks or sale books. Why not sign up today so you can get next month's freebies or enter my giveaway?


Amazon Author Page * BookBub Author Page * Facebook Fan Page * Twitter * YouTube * Joan's Website

Be the first to know about Giveaways, Bargains, New Books, sign up for Joan's Mailing List.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Getting Lost in Love by @lcrandallwriter

Getting Lost in Love is an exquisite experience. That kind of passion and romance is what I try to give my characters. It takes strong heroines, strong heroes, and their ability to express deep emotions. Though my books typically explore themes of family, running through the stories are my belief that the journey to true strength and virtue is one of containing more and more wounding until characters are solid in themselves and can express their true values, not their wounding.

In Always and Forever Love, Lacey faces complete acceptance of moving on after her husband's death or staying safely cocooned in the love she had, not the one in front of her.

Find book two in the Aegar Investigations series on Amazon and other retailers. Check out my Always and Forever Love Pinterest board for background and visuals.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Gems found in a writer's journal by @BonnieEdwards #GemsinAttic

Ask any writer and they'll confess they love writing journals. Fresh, unmarked pages in spiral- or regular-bound notebooks inspire us. Oh, all those lovely pages to fill with ideas or notes or character development. We hoard notebooks and journals, squirrel them away in nooks and crannies, on shelves, in drawers...anywhere, really.

And then we forget them because someone has gifted us with a brand new one because what do writerly friends buy for each other? Blank journals, post-it notes, pens, and other writing paraphernalia from bygone eras.

Sometimes I open up these old journals to discover gems and this is what happened to me recently:

I found notes from a workshop given by Rita-award-winning and NYT bestselling author, Jo Beverley (1947-2016). Jo was a member of my local RWA group (since disaffiliated) and in January 2002 I went to a workshop with a brand new, never-before-written-in journal. I took these notes:

Flying Into the Mist Workshop
presented by Jo Beverley
January 2002

  1. GMC is discovered - write in the "now" - be there with the character (GMC means Goal, Motivation & Conflict from Deb Dixon's book)
  2. It's not more artistic and free (I think she meant not more artistic than plotting & planning)
  3. Decide what works for your characters - upset the status quo (fish out of water stories have this inherent strength)
  4. A trait that gets in the way of the characters' success
  5. Give characters secrets - don't have to be huge but really a problem for character (I still use this  brilliant piece of advice) i.e. claustrophobia
  6. Three characteristics - one flaw that opposes a trait (maybe the secret)
  7. Ask why for everything
  8. Sometimes a surprise needs the character and author to take time to consider ramifications.
  9. Hunting for surprises can be daunting
  10. Surprises should grow out of the events
  11. One secret can't carry a book!
  12. No book survives on the first three chapters. 
  13. Characters should fear something. 
  14. Goals have roots in the past.
  15. Look for a genuine dilemma for the characters
  16. Write until the story stops. 

Jo was a great teacher. Her workshops were clear and concise. She never wasted a word and these notes only give her lesson that day a glance. I'm a terrible note taker but these brief words make up storytelling in a nutshell.

If you can do all these things, you'll have a cracker of a story! 

Thanks again, Jo. 

In Loving Logan, Return to Welcome, my heroine Elle Foster has a really big secret that once revealed is a catalyst for the romance to take off. I'm willing to bet that Jo started me looking for what secrets my characters can have and how I use those secrets to find all the surprises she mentioned. 

Loving Logan, Return to Welcome Book 2

She lives by three rules:  Don’t date. Don’t sleep with the boss. Don’t believe in happily-ever-after.

Elle Foster left Welcome broke, pregnant, and with a bad-girl rep.

Now, she’s returned to Welcome, still broke, with four children, but has vowed to never get pregnant again.

Logan Hughes is younger and establishing a new business. Adopted, he wants nothing more than to have a family of his own. He needs an assistant and Elle needs the work…

A pirate raider lurks inside Logan and when he lets him loose, even a determined woman can fall under his spell. And that sexy pirate may make Elle Foster break all her rules.

Can Logan give up fatherhood for the one woman he wants more than life itself?

How can Elle look for her future when she's returned to her ugly past?

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Vacationing Writer

Sorry for the delay in getting this online but I just returned from a ten-day family vacation and have been playing a serious game of "catch-up". During my travels (by car) with family, I did realize a few things:
  1. You can't listen to romance novels on tape with a 4 yr old in the car.
  2. Not every stop along the way is going to offer research opportunities. Unless, of course, you're writing about a fast-food restaurant with bigger-than-life reptiles in their play area.
  3. You always see something worth writing down when you're the one driving.
  4. Social media must be delayed until the grandchildren are asleep. Unfortunately, by then, you're just too tired to care about promotion.
  5. Ideas for new plots will attack you from all sides and from the most impractical places. For both #3 above and this observation, keep a tape recorder handy.
  6. Finally, you definitely don't get to read as much as you'd planned!

Hopefully everyone will get to enjoy a vacation this summer. If so, remember the sunblock (even for the car), a few good books, the tape recorder or notepad for plot ideas, and lots of patience if you're traveling with small children!
~ ~ ~
Here's a suggestion for a good book where the characters will be as warm, or possibly warmer, than you:

Publicist Teri Hunter has her hands full promoting Professor Joshua Cain and his new non-fiction book, The Pharaoh’s Mummy. She’s not convinced it’s even possible to turn this absent-minded, modern-day, Indiana Jones into a best-selling author.

Dr. Cain’s PhDs in archaeology and art history have prepared him for almost anything on the lecture circuit and among ancient ruins. He’s just not sure about a book tour…or the sexy publicist sent to monitor his every professional move.

When an odd request falls in their laps while in New Orleans, Josh and Teri find themselves transported to 1920’s Egypt where they must resolve an ancient curse in order to be sent home. Will the dangers facing them hinder their success and threaten their very lives? Or will help from an ancient guardian keep them on-track and safe?
~ ~ ~
For those of you destined to stay home, turn on the air conditioning, pour yourself a tall glass of iced tea, put your feet up and read! It's still a great vacation for the mind!


Friday, July 13, 2018

Gems of wisdom from my books by Jan Scarbrough

When I write, I put my heart into each book, and with that, I add a bit of knowledge from my hard-won experiences. So, you might say, the characters reach their happily-ever-after ending by learning from their mistakes, just as I have done over the years.

The following are some “gems” of wisdom buried in the stories I create.

Loving in isolation was pointless. True love was mutual. Quid pro quo. Something for something. She wanted that something.

But hope was an undying thing. It might come and go, but it was always available. It existed with the birth of a foal. It existed with every chance taken.

“So many times, we lose sight of who we really are,” Ashleigh continued. “At least I did. I’ve been hiding behind a mask of makeup since I was twelve. We become comfortable showing only the face we believe society thinks is acceptable or says is beautiful, and we forget to be our own person.”

“As Hank tells me, sometimes we have to learn our lessons the hard way.”

She said this prayer often, requesting the strength she could not find within herself. Ms. Addie always said God worked in mysterious ways. A person had to seek help. “Ask, and it shall be given you.”

Maybe she was uptight, but somebody had to be. Life couldn’t be run on a whim or a lark. Not without consequences.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

SUMMERLICIOUS @kathleenlawless


I am a confessed summer-a-holic.  I live to wear flipflops.  I love toes in the sand, picnics, beach time with a great book and pool time with a great cocktail.  

Summer, besides bringing us the lovely long light evenings of solstice, lends itself to family and friends connecting over barbeques, outdoor concerts, picnics, and bocce on the beach.  Whether biking, hiking, or paddling, I’m not sure if life slows down or speeds up, but it sure feels good.  And let’s not forget farmer’s markets, garden-fresh produce, leisurely patio dinners and stunning flowers everywhere.

I can’t read my tablet in the sun so old-fashioned paper books rule, part of summer’s charm.  What’ your favorite thing about summer?   What’s your best memory? 

     Kathleen Lawless’ earliest memories are of wanting to be a writer.  To create stories that would touch the lives of others who love to read the way she does.
     “I’m working on my 24th novel and it’s amazing to see the changes in traditional publishing, including ebooks and the opportunities writers have to interact with their readers.”  She enjoys pushing the boundaries of traditional romance, erotic romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction and stories for young adults. 
      She also knows firsthand about happy endings.  “Can you believe I wrote A HARD MAN TO LOVE with a hero named Steele, years before I met my own hero named Steel?  His proposal to me on a remote island in the Caribbean was more romantic than anything I could have written about.” 

     Her books have garnered numerous awards including Romantic Times K.I.S.S., a Scarlett Letter, and a Golden Quill, along with rave reviews.

Don’t forget to sign up for Kathleen’s newsletter to receive a free download of THE PLEASURE CLUB.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

July Summer Sale @lcrandallwriter

Get Cool!

Take yourself to a winter place of snow and cold, and chill out during one of the hottest summers on record with Captured by Christmas, an anthology by Lainee Cole and me. It's on sale right now.

Find low prices in July during Smashwords' Summer Sale. At Midnight, an anthology by Lainee Cole, me, and Rena Koontz, Captured by Christmas, and my children's book Invincible and Sparkly are half offMy short, Finding Finn, is a spin off of my Fierce Hearts series book and it's free.

It’s Christmas, and the season of holly, Christmas trees, and goodwill is drifting on air in merry holiday wishes. Romantic suspense and paranormal author Lynn Crandall and contemporary author Lainee Cole present in their own way two stories of love in Captured by Christmas.

In Snowbound, Lynn Crandall lets readers check in on favorite Fierce Hearts series were-lynx characters Kennedy Mitchell and Asher Monroe as they uncover the identity of the creature scaring the humans in Octavia, a small rural community in northern Michigan. Plans for an intimate getaway and family-style holiday are crumbling as the snow piles higher and Kennedy and Asher find themselves snowbound with a killer outside their door.

In The Mistletoe Effect, Christmas is second-grade teacher Tess McCall’s least favorite holiday, but she’s doing her best not to let it show.

Learning he’s a father to seven-year-old Holly makes Alex Randle anxious about the upcoming holidays. When Tess’s class starts reading to shelter dogs, Holly and the antics of shelter dog Mistletoe lead them all to rediscover the magic of Christmas.

I love everything about Christmas! Of course I had to pick a story with animals and Christmas to make it perfect. Quick read and charming stories. -Amazon

Midnight Casanova by Lainee Cole
Stranded at midnight by a broken-down car, dog trainer Maddie Lockhart finds refuge in a deserted farmhouse. When the owner of the house, Chance Marlow, tries to oust her, Maddie uses the stray mutt he calls Casanova to convince him she can help with his collection of homeless animals. While their paths seem incompatible, working side-by-side to rescue animals, they discover otherwise.

Two Days Until Midnight by Lynn Crandall
Time is running out for reclusive billionaire Tamier Rein to save himself from transforming into a cheetah, and bird-shifter Lark Ellis is his only hope for surviving past midnight.

Midnight Deadline for Love by Rena Koontz
T.B. Amanscott is Harrison City’s wealthiest man and his kidnappers want one million dollars ransom by midnight or they will kill him. Every possible resource is available to Sergeant Ariana Jeanne Lozione, who is heading up the rescue attempt. There’s only one problem. A.J. wants him dead.

At Midnight is a box set of three books by different authors. I haven't read any books by these authors so for me this was a great box set to find some new authors to look for. That is the great thing about box set is the chance to read from authors you might not have read before.
Loved this set! -Amazon

Asher Monroe’s younger brother Finn has never had any trouble accepting his human identity despite Asher’s extraordinary were-lynx abilities and rich life with the colony. In fact, Finn loves his life as a research scientist and living on his own terms. But when a disease that is targeting were-lynxes brings a group of violent were-lynxes to town to threaten his research partner, Nissa Bello, his life is changed forever.

Once again Crandall has created a vibrant and fast paced tale that easily held my attention throughout. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and how they fit in with her shifter world. This unique look is a fantastic introduction to this world and will definitely leave you wanting to get to know them so much better. It is such a sweet tale that I simply fell in love. This was a fantastic companion tale to Crandall’s Fierce Hearts series. It was an absolute blast to read and really highlighted the other side of the story for me. -Amazon

What happens when two love-filled young girls turn to loyalty, hope, and belief in self when confronting danger, loss, and self-doubt? In Invincible and Sparkly, Kama and Ella follow their hearts to find out in this illustrated children's book.

Invincible and Sparkly by L.L. Crandall is a charming children's adventure story with an important message of hope and love. The colorful illustrations are bright and fun. I loved the story's message, which is noteworthy and succinct. - Amazon

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Unleash the Fire by Karen Kelley


Pre Order Now
Amazon     Kobo    Apple
I'm super excited to announce Unleash the Fire is up for preorder! This is a brand new book, the first book in the Unleashed series. It's a full-length, steamy romantic comedy. Here's a little more about it.

 Unleash the Fire

I've never seen anyone with worse fashion sense than Katie. But as she sat at one of the tables in the coffee shop, laptop open, she removed those god-awful black glasses, and nibbled her bottom lip. Then she smiled, and transformed before my eyes.

I wanted her.


I'm a good girl--with very naughty thoughts.

 Jaxson is willing to help with my writing. I ran into him at the coffee shop. The guy is drop-dead gorgeous. I'm talking six-pack abs, broad chest, and oozing sex appeal. I thought he worked there. Nope, he owns the place, and he's also a very famous author.

 His help means I might actually escape my demonic boss, and living with my twin sisters, who are demanding as hell, but hey, it's free rent. If I can turn my writing into a paying career, I'm outta there.

 But just how far am I willing to let him go when I stumble over the love scenes? Am I brave enough to break all the rules? In the name of research, of course.

 I loved writing this book because Katie is a writer, struggling to put her ideas on paper. I could relate to so much that she's going through. I had to giver her someone strong who could help her, so in comes Jaxson, her perfect hero. Well, almost perfect.

 I hope everyone will enjoy the insights into a writers life that make up this book.

 Best Wishes,

Karen Kelley

Monday, July 9, 2018

What is Your Write Path? by @MaddieJames

It is my day to blog. I forgot.

It's 7:34 pm in my neck of the woods. People probably aren't interested in reading belated blog posts by now. But it's my day to blog.

So I'll blog.

Sort of.

In fact, I think I'll cheat-blog. Yes, that is a thing. I just invented it.

Sort of.

So, for my official monthly blog post here this evening, I'm going to share with you a passage from a current non-fiction book I am working on titled Discovering Your Write Path to Publishing Success. It's a work-in-progress. Any typos or editorial mistakes you see here are all mine. My editor hasn't gotten hold of it yet.

Here is my pearl of wisdom for today.

So here you are, thinking about writing. Maybe you’ve done more than think about it. Maybe you’ve already drafted a novel. Published a few articles. Written a letter to Dear Abby. Drafted a note to your kid’s teacher.

Or maybe not.

Maybe you’re not so certain you can do it. Perhaps you’ve been told it’s a silly idea. Nothing to come of it. Nice hobby, perhaps, but let’s get real, you can’t make a decent living writing. Can you?


The thing is, maybe that doesn’t matter.

Maybe you just want to write. You don’t care about a career. You just like to string words together into pretty sentences. Perhaps a writing career would get in the way of the rest of your life.

Or the rest of your life might get in the way of your writing career.

Been there. Done that. On both counts.

And then again, maybe you DO want a writing career. Maybe your goal is to support yourself with your writing. It can happen. Right?

Sure it can. There are ways.

But the thing is this—whatever Your Write Path, remember it is yours alone. Yours. You can write only for yourself, or you can write to make money. You can write for your great Aunt Sally, and that’s cool too. And as long as you are happy, and you do what you want to do, then life is good.

Truly, it is.


Writing is not a competition.

Don’t compete with others. Compete only with yourself.

Know what you want. Educate yourself about how to get it. Plan and act. Work hard and persevere. Give it time and whatever your Write Path turns out to be, you’ll find it.

Or it will find you.
What led you to this point in your writing journey? When did you know you were a writer? What’s your story? Write it here. Now.

Let's chat.
Maddie James writes to silence the people in her head. The author of nearly 50 published short stories, novella, and novels, she writes steamy romance fiction in several romance subgenres. As Sophie Jacobs, she writes sweeter contemporary romance and women's fiction. Besides writing romance fiction, her own Write Path spans 30 years of work, including magazine, newspaper, and academic journal articles, educational texts and curriculum, and cookbooks. 

Discover Your Write Path to Publishing Success will release in October 2018.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Happy Part 2 of 2018 by @JoanReeves

I survived the first half of 2018, reeling from one emergency to the next. Also reeling from one writing project to the next.

Do you have months like that where everything is an emergency and/or a "hurry up and wait" event?

Fortunately, I made all the book deadlines and survived all of the emergencies.

To celebrate, I bought a bottle of Prosecco, and Darling Hubby and I are opening it this evening.

Celebrations demand party favors so I set up a sale for both books in my ALL BRIDES ARE BEAUTIFUL series. The sale runs through July 10. Each book is only 99 cents.


Is it just a Marriage of Convenience--or something more? Something hot and sizzling between Maddie and Jake that neither can resist.

Oil heiress Madeline Quinn needs a husband by the time she turns twenty-five in order to claim her full inheritance.

Mad Maddie, as the tabloids christened her, has learned the hard way that men only see dollar signs when they look at her.

Maddie decides a marriage of convenience is the only answer.

She turns to the one man in the world she can trust, her housekeeper’s son who always treated her like a little sister when they were growing up—until one disastrous night when she acted impetuously.

Jake Becker hasn’t seen Maddie since the night she tried to seduce him. Why should he help the woman who changed the course of his life? Simple. Revenge.

Or is it something else? Something that sizzles like steam heat between Maddie and Jake that neither can resist?


Even the new release for the series, Second Chance Bride, is on sale

He was the only man she wanted—and the one man she could never have.

She left town at eighteen, wanting to leave behind all the pain and heartbreak. In Houston, she reinvented herself as wealthy, successful Constance Quinn.

The only problem is there's no room for love or relationships in her rigidly controlled existence. Now older and wiser, she's determined to find the part of herself that got lost in her transformation.

"A blonde with curves in all the right places." That's what Alex Martinez thinks when he meets Constance. When they touch, something hot and urgent passes between them. Their attraction is mutual. Their desire is palpable.

Although Constance cannot resist Alex, she's playing with fire because she has a secret that will destroy everything if it's revealed.


Now is the time to take stock of your goals and see what else you want to accomplish this year. That's what I plan to do tomorrow. Today, I'm just breathing a sigh of relief.

Joan Reeves is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance.

All of her books have the same underlying theme: It's never too late to live happily ever after. She lives her HEA with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State.

Visit Joan online: Blog * Amazon * BookBub * Facebook * Twitter.

Sign up for Joan's mailing list, and always be the first to know about new books and giveaways.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

I almost totally forgot about this blog post due today.  Almost.  If someone else hadn't posted that they'd forgotten theirs, I would have gone merrily about my day, unaware and unrepentant.

Yesterday was the 4th of July.  Independence Day here in the USA.  This holiday brings back so many memories.  Of being a kid, of taking my own child to displays.  Of visiting my dad in Boulder and eating horribly burnt bratwurst that he'd grilled.  One year we stayed in a cabin in Cuchara, CO and they had an awesome parade and display.  One year at our lake place, someone invested a small fortune in fireworks and made a beautiful display over the lake.  Another year there, the residents of our community had a golf cart parade.  So much fun.

Lately, we tend to stay home and cook out and swim.  A small group.  Still fun.  Our neighborhood is older and the fireworks weren't as bad.  My dogs weren't scared at all. 

I didn't write yesterday, though I'll be back at it today.  I'm also learning Photoshop so I can make book covers (I got the rights back to 11 older Harlequin books!)

Enjoy your summer.  I hope you're reading too!  I'm going to redesign the cover for this one, but it's up for sale on Amazon.  It won the Romantic Times Best Silhouette Intimate Moments in 2005

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